A scrupulously researched work likely to open deep old wounds.




A scouring academic investigation of the fallout from the Six-Day War.

Raz delivers a compelling study of Israeli intransigence and deception after the huge territory gains it made in June 1967 by seizing the West Bank and Arab Jerusalem, the Golan Heights, the Sinai Peninsula and the Gaza Strip. Peace with Israel’s aggressive Arab neighbors was the ostensible goal (“We have no aims of conquest,” declared Defense Minister Moshe Dayan to the nation), yet as Raz demonstrates, the emotional argument surrounding the gain of biblical lands largely immobilized and blinkered the Israeli leadership to the outcry from the rest of the world. Two peace options were put forth within days of the invasion: one by West Bank notables who wanted to be free of Jordanian control and declare a Palestinian state with Arab Jerusalem as capital; and the other tendered by King Hussein of Jordan, a close ally of the United States, who was eager for peace. Yet Raz shows how Prime Minister Levi Eshkol, Dayan and Foreign Minister Abba Eban embarked on a “calculated double game” to appease the U.S. (from whom Israel desperately needed more fighter planes) and gain time, thus allowing the territories to empty of thousands of fleeing Palestinians and Israel to quietly “annex” Gaza and Arab Jerusalem. Indeed, using Eshkol’s metaphor, Israel wanted the “dowry” (the occupied territories) without the “bride” (the Arab population). Raz shows an Israeli government riven by indecision and plurality of opinion, Palestinians in shock and despair, King Hussein hanging on to the survival of his reign and grasping at some kind of honorable settlement, and the Palestinian guerrilla resistance gathering force in the wings.

A scrupulously researched work likely to open deep old wounds.

Pub Date: June 26, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-300-17194-5

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2012

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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Bibliophiles will love this fact-filled, bookish journey.


An engaging, casual history of librarians and libraries and a famous one that burned down.

In her latest, New Yorker staff writer Orlean (Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend, 2011, etc.) seeks to “tell about a place I love that doesn’t belong to me but feels like it is mine.” It’s the story of the Los Angeles Public Library, poet Charles Bukowski’s “wondrous place,” and what happened to it on April 29, 1986: It burned down. The fire raged “for more than seven hours and reached temperatures of 2000 degrees…more than one million books were burned or damaged.” Though nobody was killed, 22 people were injured, and it took more than 3 million gallons of water to put it out. One of the firefighters on the scene said, “We thought we were looking at the bowels of hell….It was surreal.” Besides telling the story of the historic library and its destruction, the author recounts the intense arson investigation and provides an in-depth biography of the troubled young man who was arrested for starting it, actor Harry Peak. Orlean reminds us that library fires have been around since the Library of Alexandria; during World War II, “the Nazis alone destroyed an estimated hundred million books.” She continues, “destroying a culture’s books is sentencing it to something worse than death: It is sentencing it to seem as if it never happened.” The author also examines the library’s important role in the city since 1872 and the construction of the historic Goodhue Building in 1926. Orlean visited the current library and talked to many of the librarians, learning about their jobs and responsibilities, how libraries were a “solace in the Depression,” and the ongoing problems librarians face dealing with the homeless. The author speculates about Peak’s guilt but remains “confounded.” Maybe it was just an accident after all.

Bibliophiles will love this fact-filled, bookish journey.

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4767-4018-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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